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NBA playoffs: Advantage, Nuggets

By Arnie Stapleton Published: May 4, 2009
DENVER — If not for Nene’s breakout first half, Carmelo Anthony’s fourth-quarter fireworks and Anthony Carter’s defensive deftness wouldn’t have mattered much.

Nene kept Denver in it until his teammates could turn this one into another laugher, scoring 18 of his playoff career-high 24 points in the first half of the Nuggets’ 109-95 rout of the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in the opener of their second-round series.

"‘Melo in foul trouble and kind of searching for an offensive confidence, we got it from Nene,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. "The balance of our team has quietly been a strength of who we are. In the second half ‘Melo got into the game, J.R. (Smith) jumped into the game and our defense was fantastic.”

Nene, who beat testicular cancer last year, played more minutes than ever this season, and over the last month he really hit a wall.


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